For years, there was talk of offer sheets without any actual action. That’s changed recently, with the competing offers between the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes for Sebastian Aho and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Now, when offer sheets are brought up, they at least can’t be dismissed entirely.
That’s why this morning’s report from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic that teams around the league are debating the merits of a Jake Oettinger offer sheet is so intriguing. The young goaltender showed this postseason that he is ready to step into the limelight as a star, posting a .954 save percentage in seven games, almost dragging the Stars past the Calgary Flames in the first round by himself.
With Jason Robertson also a restricted free agent and a few other spots to fill, the Stars have a limited amount of cap flexibility to work with, which could make an Oettinger offer sheet more appealing for some teams. It doesn’t make much sense to sign a player to one without real hope that it might not be matched.
That can draw the ire of opposing managers who are trying to keep contracts low with their young RFAs. In fact, that’s what happened in the Aho situation, with the Hurricanes quickly matching only to retaliate down the road.
So if you’re going after Oettinger, it’s going to have to be a deal that the Stars will have trouble matching, or at least reach the level of compensation to make them hesitate.
The compensation thresholds this year are:
|$1,386,490 or less||No compensation|
|$1,386,491 to $2,100,472||Third-round pick|
|$2,100,473 to $4,201,488||Second-round pick|
|$4,201,489 to $6,302,230||First and third-round picks|
|$6,302,231 to $8,402,975||First, second and third-round picks|
|$8,402,976 to $10,503,720||Two firsts, a second and third-round picks|
|Over $10,503,721||Four first-round picks|
Check here for a more detailed explanation.
Coming off his entry-level deal and not eligible for arbitration, the Stars could normally keep the netminder’s contract relatively low, especially with a short-term bridge deal. An offer sheet then becomes basically the only leverage that Oettinger’s camp has, meaning these whispers could just be a negotiating tactic.
Remember, teams must use their own draft picks for compensation, not selections that have been acquired from other clubs. It also can’t happen until he actually reaches RFA status on July 13.